Easy peasy! <whew!> ;-) I suppose what would make this one a good Lenten discipline however, is doing something kind for someone who's not on the radar already - someone outside the family, outside the daily circle. Or doing something kind for someone within that circle when it may be inconvenient or something you'd rather not do.
And each time you do something kind for someone, you are serving our God.
May kindness be my way of life, O God, keeping my heart and mind focused on holy things. Lift my eyes above myself that I might see you in all I do.
We do a lot of complaining about things we don't like. Why don't "they" do something about it?
They is you.
They is me.
They is us.
We need to do something about it. If we don't like it, we really shouldn't complain about it unless we've done something to change it.
So, get up do something.
Go and share.
Clean it up.
Quit doing the thing you don't like.
Become a squeaky wheel.
Unless we do something about the things we don't like, they will always be the things we don't like. When we finally do something about it, it will begin to change.
Others will join us.
God will work with us. We will be working with God!
We are the change God gives the world, and unless we do it, it won't get done. Change it now! Tomorrow may be too late.
I suppose the best way to show appreciation to/for God is to show love to/for God's people and all God made.
I certainly appreciate the beauty of God's world, but I could do more to help care for it. Seems like a pretty good way to show appreciation for this good creation.
I wonder what I would do if God walked in and sat down in my presence. What would you do? Surely we would, at the very least, offer hospitality - a drink, a snack, an invitation to dinner (what would you feed God?).
How would you express your appreciation for God's visit? God's presence (would you be?)? I wonder if we wouldn't be fearful (God knows our thoughts/actions) or start asking questions for our own satisfaction instead of offering hospitality.
But isn't that exactly what happens when someone, anyone, pays us a visit, when we're in the presence of ANY of God's children? We are advised to treat a stranger well for we never know when we're entertaining angels unawares. But each one bears God in his/her body, so the way we treat each and every one is entertaining God unawares, isn't it? How do we show our appreciation for each of God's children, important or lowly? How we we show God hospitality when a stranger pays us a call? Or even our family members and co-workers?
We grow callous to the stranger in our midst and so accustomed to those in our "regular" circles, that we forget the call of God, the desire of God for us to love and appreciate one another.
Show extravagant appreciation to everyone today and see what a difference it makes in everyone's lives.
Being instructed to do something spontaneous kinda takes away the spontaneity, doesn't it? ;-) But it might actually help us keep our eyes open for opportunities as they present themselves today. Watch for possible joy-filled God moments when you can gift someone with a fun, joy-filled surprise.
Most of us love surprises, especially when they bless us with laughter and moments shared together.
Wait for an "a-ha" to hit you as you're working or playing today and share it with a co-worker, friend, family member or a perfect stranger, and watch how it lights up their face.
Go ahead. Be spontaneous! Watch for moments to share joy!
This one's a bit of a double-edged sword, seems to me. On the one hand, I'm happy to slow down the pace some days, but then to be intentional with the slow-down...my tendency is to piddle with silly computer games and mindless activities rather than doing God-work in that time. :-/
On the other hand, I'm generally intentional with my time, but I can be intentionally slothful or intentionally productive.
To slow down means that I now have time to be thinking about how I'm being intentional.
Is it really important work?
Am I just going about my daily busy-ness because that's what I do?
Or am I just wasting time.
Intending to do good work and getting it done don't always happen at the same time. We can have all good intentions and just never get there. Slowing it all down give us time to put it all together.
Slow down AND be intentional with our time...
Take in the beauty of the world.
Listen to your rhythmic breathing and give thanks for good air.
Pray, and listen.
Share your story with someone.
Tell someone how much they mean to you.
Make a phone call to see how someone's doing or just to say "I was thinking of you."
Change my heart, O God. Make more more like you each day, that I might spend my time working in and for your kingdom.
1...2...3... :-p There are just so many! Where to begin?
Blessings are very much like the things for which I'm thankful, although, I notice that some things I count as blessings were at times difficult. I'm not sure I was thankful for them at the time they occurred or were encountered. Interesting.
In no particular order, and certainly not exhaustive: life, breath, love, Tom, our girlies, education, wildlife in my yard, Mom & Dad, my sibs, sight, the ability to touch and feel, folks who've blessed me, folks who've challenged me, Covenant S'field, colleagues (current & former), facebook friends, the ability to drive, travel, the places I've visited, Tom's mom, sibs and families, music to listen to, ability to read music and play (loosely), singing, whistling, warm house, a home, the crazy technology I use and enjoy, food to eat, the connectional church-lots of great folks, the Bible, facebook, happiness, birdsong, the schools I've attended, the river, island living, electricity, a body that still (mostly) works, health, our critters (blessing & bane), ;-) Sunrise, Covenant (ICT), Chester, Peace, Mt Washington, Ampthill, Allen Park, grace, Jim & Jane, Joe, Dr Ballinger, the ability to read, Mrs. Taylor, Twila, Marty & Darryl, Sam, Beth, Ann, Megan, youth and youth groups (they've taught me so much and kept me young <mostly>), camps, my mind (what there is of it!), faith, time, Mary Ann, Sharon, running water, clean water, Rise Against Hunger, interim training, Beth, Mitch, Bill, Nancy, Lawrence...
I could go on and on I think. So many things have been and are a blessing to me. And if you've read this far, bless you!
And of course, the God who made all these things possible. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me far more than I deserve. Amen.
We're so accustomed to dragging around those things happened, things that we regret from our past, but they don't serve a purpose in our lives today except to hold us back. They draw life from us. There is nothing today that we can do to change what happened, except to make today better, to choose to let go and live in the present, to follow God's life-giving ways instead of hanging on to the ways of death.
We grow so comfortable with the chains that hold us captive that we forget that God has already loosed them from our necks and set us free.
Step by step, link by link, let go. Pray for God to gently take it from you and replace it with life. Choose to grow from it instead of being held down, and resolve to move forward, perhaps you could even help someone else who is struggling with their past.
Change my heart, O God. Take from me the past that holds me back, holds me down and set me free.
Not just the "regular" stuff, but take a moment or two to go out of your way. Maybe someone you don't know. Perhaps someone who wouldn't expect it.
It might be an unexpected smile or a breakfast paid for.
Open the door for someone whose arms are full, allow someone to get in line before you.
Pick up branches in a neighbor's yard,
Allow traffic to merge in front of you...
So many small sacrifices, but they make our day brighter.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to make a difference, no matter how large or small, in someone else's life. Help me to see the opportunities.
It is not helpful to dwell on what's wrong. Leave in the past what's in the past. Learn from it, but keep moving forward.
Dwelling on the wrong makes us negative people and isn't really experiencing all the good things that God has prepared for us, nor is it being a good steward of our lives and gifts.
There will always be mistakes and wrongdoing, but when we see them as opportunities for learning we focus our lives on life-giving actions instead of that which drags us down and holds us back.
So, what's next, O God? Lead me on!
It's so easy on social media to type in my own thoughts and opinions, which are far more important than everyone else's right? :-p (see March 19) Who wants to pause long enough to actually *read* others' comments first? That would require me to slow down long enough to read/listen, and then hear and understand what others are saying first, to ponder the value and worth of the others' comments.
Where are they coming from?
Why would they think that way?
Is there another way of seeing this?
I'm so worried that I won't be able to get my oh-so-very-wise comments out there that I shove into the conversation and possibly even say things I might regret later, or might be viewed by others as thoughtless, silly or just uninformed. Silent ones learn more and are often viewed as wise! ;-)
I think I know best. I have my own agenda and everything that's "other" doesn't matter. I'm so wise and all-knowing, right? :-p
Acknowledging others' thoughts and opinions not only puts us on a level playing field, but let's them know that we value them as people, as children of God. It allows us to learn something new. It shows maturity in our relationships.
I need to slow down my end of the conversation. Stop responding so quickly from my own (not so) humble point of view, and possibly even learn something ourselves.
Change my heart O God. Slow me down. Help me to listen more and speak less (she said as she continues typing...). :-/ Help me to acknowledge others' thoughts and opinions and possibly even ponder the value of someone else's perspective before speaking up with my own.
I'm a wife, mom, pastor, human...probably not in that order. I struggle each day to be faithful to God, to my family and to my call as a Christian and all of those previously-mentioned roles. I pray to be positive, kind and thoughtful, but tend to fall short on all counts. I am inspired by sunrises and enjoy taking pictures (mostly my kids, deer in the yard and sunrises). I waste time playing stupid computer games and wishing I'd been better at all of the aforementioned roles. ;-)